10 Things Your Wedding Photographer Wants You to Know
words by // Jamie Birdwell-Branson
The photographer is easily one of the most important wedding hires you’ll make. They are quite literally holding the keys to your memories of your wedding day, which is why it’s so important to have a perfect understanding of how they work and be communicative with your specific vision.
Your wedding photographer wants to do the best possible job—because the photographer knows that you’re going to look back on these photographs 30 years from now and be sharing them with the people you love most in the world. To help you get insight into their world, we made this list of 10 things your wedding photographer wants you to know.
1. Look Like Yourself and You’ll Get the Best Photos
It’s your wedding day—and it’s understandable that you want to look drop dead, knock-out gorgeous. But don’t overdo the makeup and the hair so much that you look unrecognizable in photographs. The best wedding photographs are the ones who totally capture you, in all your real and honest loveliness.
2. Identify Anything Unusual About the Venue
Every wedding venue has its quirks, so it’s a good idea to let your photographer know about these well ahead of time so there are no surprises like low lighting, cramped spaces or obstructed views. The sooner your photog knows about these issues, the better the solution they can come up with to get perfectly beautiful photographs.
3. Don’t Forget to Have Fun
Weddings are not without their stress—your pastor was late showing up to the venue, your sister doesn’t like her bridesmaid dress, your caterer forgot to bring the gluten-free options—but it’s a good idea to take a step back and just enjoy the evening. Have fun, dance, sing, visit with family members you haven’t seen since you were in diapers, and most importantly, enjoy these ultra happy moments of newlywed bliss.
4. Let the Photographer Know about Any Family Splits or Dysfunction
As much as we would like weddings to be a healing event for family members who have disagreements or congenial for your divorced parents, sometimes that’s, unfortunately, a tall order. Before your photographer unwittingly walks into a minefield by asking to take a picture with both your mom and your dad, let her know ahead of time that this won’t be a good idea. In fact, before the wedding, you should give her a list of family combination photos you want to take—and list any combinations that she should avoid.
5. Act Natural—It’ll Make for Better Photos
It can feel a little weird to have a photographer following you around all day, so the best thing to do is forget the camera is there. This typically shouldn’t be an issue because you’ll be so busy and filled with nervous/anxious/excited energy to worry about the camera.
6. Don’t be Afraid to Get Creative
Sure, photographs in front of a perfectly manicured rose garden are always going to turn out beautiful, but some of the most interesting photos are those that are a little avant-garde and completely original. Don’t be afraid to get creative with your wedding photo locations, and ask your photographer to scope out some really cool backgrounds and settings so you can get a variety of cool shots.
7. It’s Your Story, So Don’t be Shy About Telling It
Although your photographer is ultimately in control of what’s happening behind the lens, you shouldn’t be shy about giving her some direction. If you have a vision of how you want your story to be told, then you should communicate it. Traditional wedding photos tend to look a little stiff and posed—and if that’s not your vibe, then don’t be afraid to speak out.
8. Your Wedding Day is About You
It takes a village to plan a wedding—and that village certainly has strong opinions on just about everything—but at the end of the day, your wedding is about you and your future spouse. Don’t let your mom, your future mother-in-law or a pesky uncle dictate what kind of shots your photographer is taking. Remember you call the shots here.
9. Keep Your “Getting Ready” Area as Clean as Possible
“Getting ready” photographs have become increasingly popular within the last 10 years, and for good reason: It helps you remember all those little moments before you walk down the aisle. Because you know your photographer is going to be getting this behind-the-scenes look, it’s a good idea to keep the getting ready area as clean as you possibly can so the shots aren’t littered with background images of hairspray, makeup, and empty champagne bottles.
10. Write a List of “Must-Have” Shots
You don’t want to walk away with the thought of “Oh I wish I had asked my photographer for that shot.” To avoid having any regrets of missed shots, write down a list of your must-haves so your photographer is well prepared and knows exactly what you need.